Getting the balance right
25 November 2019
David Corrie has modernised the family’s farm in south-west Scotland to make it work for his lifestyle, with a little help from AMC along the way.
Park Farm in south-west Scotland may be on the small side at 60 acres, but it certainly keeps owner David Corrie busy, thanks to its renowned pedigree herd of Belted Galloways and several rental properties. Especially when you add in David’s role as land agent for Galbraith Group, as well as being an AMC Agent.
“Our family have lived here for six generations and the farm used to be around 600 acres, but as I approached adulthood it became clear that me and my future family, plus my parents, weren’t all going to be able to live off the farm,” says David. “So, I went to university and then got a job in an estate agency, and Dad sold two parcels of farmland to our neighbours. We retained the farmhouse, the traditional cottages we use as rental properties, four holiday houses and 60 acres for our herd of 25 Belted Galloways.
“It’s just enough for me and Dad to manage, largely on our own, and we get a comfortable income from the rental properties and breeding the cows,” David adds.
“I can work on the farm in the evenings and on weekends and do my day job nine to five. It’s a good balance.”
Building a family home
David first approached AMC for support when he wanted to build a house on the estate for him and his wife.
“Around eight years ago we wanted to build our own home on a plot of unused land,” says David. “But because the land was tied to the farm we couldn’t just borrow in a normal way, we needed to secure the whole farm. We heard about AMC and decided to restructure the farm’s finances – moving it away from the current lender to them and freeing up the cash to build our wooden Scandinavian log house at the same time. Now we live at the heart of the holding with our two children.
“Restructuring also allowed us to move financial responsibility for the farm to me, giving my Dad the freedom of retirement, although he still runs the farm day to day at the age of 84.”
David then turned to AMC again a few years later when it came to transforming the clubhouse from a small golf course in the middle of the farm into a holiday let.
“The clubhouse is in a great location and already had a working kitchen and toilets, so once the golf course shut down it was a no-brainer to turn it into another rental property,” says David.
“We needed a cash injection to fund the renovation work and once again AMC were able to help.”
Working with AMC
But David’s dealings with AMC aren’t limited to being a customer. His role as a partner at Galbraith Group means he is regularly in contact with people involved in the rural economy, making him the perfect fit to be an AMC Agent.
“I’m on the AMC introducer panel,” says David, “and I’ve actually just been offered the opportunity to join the valuation panel, so I can see cases through from start to finish, as appropriate.
“The beauty of AMC’s system is that the AMC representative who meets the customer on site, on day one, is able to accurately estimate a farm’s value and assess whether what they are seeking is viable.
“There’s a skill in understanding the value of land, knowing what kind of ground it is and what it’s suitable for, and AMC use people with the right knowledge and experience at every stage.”
“David gives us a very good local presence in the Dumfries and Galloway area,” says John O’Meara, Regional Agricultural Manager at AMC. “He knows the area well. He was a customer before becoming an Agent and wanted to get involved because he liked the way we worked, which is a huge testament to AMC.
“Bringing David on as a local Agent who knows the area, knows the farmers, has proven pretty successful from our point of view and will hopefully continue going from strength to strength.”